Britney Spears: Bombshell or just plain bomb?
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Sure, Britney has had a rough time, but cut her some slack

The top video on YouTube yesterday was a home movie of a hysterical Britney Spears fan (Chris Crocker) literally in tears about her treatment in the media following her VMA performance.

The video, at times laughable and at other times unsettling due to Crocker's obvious obsessive devotion, nonetheless is interesting in the excuses he makes for Spears' performance.

Crocker cries, "She lost her aunt, she went through a divorce, she had two [expletive] kids, her husband turned out to be a user, a cheater, and now she's going through a custody battle. All you people care about is readers and making money off of her. She's a human!"

While no one can argue the facts behind Crocker's statements, we have to examine whether or not they are viable excuses for a woman whose sole job is (as a celebrity figure in an unwritten contract with the public) to look good and to perform well.

First, it's clear that America is out for blood when it comes to our celebrity royalty, and Spears is the all-time favorite target. Though to say that she doesn't have severe self-esteem issues, not to mention some degree of mental psychosis is clearly an understatement. From her infamous head shaving incident to her supposedly poor parenting, Spears has made some bad decisions. Admitting this, we have to come to terms with the fact that the media and (most of all) casual viewers are complicit in her mental breakdown.

The constant scrutiny on her life exacerbates her already troubled self. Spears claimed she would not have driven her car with an infant in her lap had she not been being chased by paparazzi.

How then are we not to say, as Kanye West did, that Spears "wasn't ready and [MTV] just exploited her"? When she signed up to be a pop star in the new age of no privacy, Spears clearly didn't take into account how a fickle public can be your best friend and worst nightmare all at once.

Ultimately, for me it comes down to the fact that the VMA performance wasn't even that bad. Some slipped choreography here and there and a non-anorexic Britney suddenly becomes a drunkenly-sloppy debacle with a horrendously fat Spears.

The real story here is how quickly the media has moved to crucify the troubled pop starlet. In this writer's opinion, no performance by Britney short of a miracle would have satiated the dogs in the tabloids that already had 'VMA Disaster' written weeks ahead of time.

The public is out for Britney's blood and as rich and spoiled as she may be, she's still just a girl whose been shoved in the spotlight from age 11 and doesn't deserve the brutal treatment the American public gives her.

-- Daily Texan Staff

People like Britney Spears are just waiting to get pummeled by press

Britney Spears deserves every spot of bad press she's received. Her maturation from jailbait temptress to empty, vacuous pop vessel has been typical of the spoiled youth starlets preceding her; Spears time and again proves herself to be an abysmal, embarrassing excuse for a woman. She makes an argument for state-sanctioned limits on procreation. She can't sing, can no longer dance and should have known reemerging as a caricature of her successful self would end this way.

In fact, that's all I have to say about Britney Spears.

Her headline-stealing lip-syncing was, however, symbolic. At the onset of the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, her painful stage exit signaled a defining passing of the torch. Boy bands and teen queens ended six years ago. Kids today have considerably higher quality of pop music to choose from than, say, today's collegiate constituency did during the late '90s.

Forget the obvious potshots we could aim at LFO and Backstreet (especially Howie, who to this day resembles a thoroughbred horse), just ten years ago, Matchbox 20, Smashmouth and Eagle Eye Cherry had hits. Dave Matthews was allowed on television. Master P dominated southern hip-hop, Diddy was Daddy and the rest of the country was his with which to rehash '80s hooks.

The Godzilla song Puffy did with Jimmy Page should've been the straw that broke the camel's back. It was only the beginning.

Korn and Limp Bizkit ruled rock. Ghastly bursts, usually dubbed "invasions," periodically seized radio. Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez are the prime examples.

Spears was at the epicenter of this dark age. We thought to be rid of her for good, but after the VMAs she's once again front page news. It's especially unsettling because lost in tabloids and sound bites was an absolutely bitchin' awards show. Through Chris Brown and Fall Out Boy and Rihanna and Beyonce, we're submersed in a pop renaissance.

The performance-stressing ceremony cemented the cross-pollination between fronts of artists. Lil' Wayne rapping with Gym Class Heroes, Queens of the Stone Age jamming with Dave Grohl and his Foo brethren, right after Cee-Lo did. Mark Ronson and the Dap Kings were the perfect house band, admirably dishing retro soul riffs while backing everyone from Akon to Adam Levine.

Li'l Mama's "Lipgloss" is the most infectious homage to innocuous high school culture in decades; Avril Lavigne's throwaway, choreographed "Girlfriend" video belongs in a time capsule. And she hasn't been a teenager in ages. That Sean Kingston jam is genius in its simplicity and ability to capture the spirit of teen angst and linear lust.

My Chemical Romance and Aiden unite and inspire scores of alienated kids. And while it's troubling to see so many super-producers jacked up on steroids, Timbaland and Dr. Dre's godfather status perfectly cemented the balance of power within pop's ranks.

It's survival of the fittest baby, either evolve like Justin and Christina, or go back to your home on whore island.

-- Ramon Ramirez
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